An Infrared View Of Saturn

This false-colour image of Saturn, taken with Hubble's Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS), shows the planet's reflected infrared light. This view provides detailed information on the clouds and hazes in Saturn's atmosphere. The blue colours indicate a clear atmosphere down to a main cloud layer. Different shadings of blue indicate variations in the cloud particles, in size or chemical composition. The cloud particles are believed to be ammonia ice crystals. Most of the northern hemisphere that is visible above the rings is relatively clear. The dark region around the south pole at the bottom indicates a big hole in the main cloud layer. The green and yellow colours indicate a haze above the main cloud layer. The haze is thin where the colours are green but thick where they are yellow. Most of the southern hemisphere (the lower part of Saturn) is quite hazy. These layers are aligned with latitude lines, due to Saturn's east-west winds. The red and orange colours indicate clouds reaching up high into the atmosphere. Red clouds are even higher than orange clouds. The densest regions of two storms near Saturn's equator appear white.

In honor of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's eighth anniversary, we have gift wrapped Saturn in vivid colours. Actually, this image is courtesy of the new Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS), which has taken its first peek at Saturn. The false-color image - taken Jan. 4, 1998 - shows the planet's reflected infrared light. This view provides detailed information on the clouds and hazes in Saturn's atmosphere.

Credit:

Erich Karkoschka (University of Arizona), and NASA/ESA

About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Id:opo9818a
Type:Observation
Release date:23 April 1998, 06:00
Size:1160 x 500 px

About the Object

Name:Saturn
Type:• Solar System : Planet : Type : Gas Giant
• X - Solar System Images/Videos

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Infrared
Near-IR
1.0 μm Hubble Space Telescope
NICMOS
Infrared
Near-IR
1.8 μm Hubble Space Telescope
NICMOS
Infrared
Near-IR
2.1 μm Hubble Space Telescope
NICMOS

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54.5 KB

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